In the 1952 movie High Noon, directed by Fred Zinnemann, and starring Gary Cooper, a sheriff’s sense of duty is put to the test when he must decide to either face a gang of killers alone, or leave town with his new wife. In the end, the sheriff chooses the path of courage, and with the help of his wife, vanquishes the gang and its leader in a shootout. Nearly 70 years later, a seemingly lone US journalist is faced with a similar scenario, this time taking on the despotic Iranian regime.
In a show of moxie and moral courage, U.S. journalist and activist Masih Alinejad is speaking out against the Iranian government. According to the U.S. Justice Department, Alinejad was the target of a failed kidnapping by Iranian operatives. The Justice Department stated that “Four Iranian intelligence officials were charged on Tuesday with attempting to kidnap a US journalist and human-rights activist of Iranian descent who has been openly critical of the regime’s autocracy,” according to insider.com.
William Sweeney, the head of New York’s FBI office, stated, “We allege a group, backed by the Iranian government, conspired to kidnap a US-based journalist here on our soil and forcibly return her to Iran. Not on our watch.” As reported by MSNBC, “Alireza Shavaroghi Farahani, 50; Mahmoud Khazein, 42; Kiya Sadeghi, 35; and Omid Noori, 45, all of Iran, were charged with conspiracy to kidnap, conspiracy to violate sanctions against Iran, conspiracy to commit bank fraud, and conspiracy to launder money.”
The Times of Israel reports that Alinejad was just one of multiple victims targeted by the Iranian government and that “ . . .all of the targeted victims had been critical of Iran, including the New Yorker [Alinejad], a Brooklyn resident described as a journalist, author and human rights activist who has publicized Iran’s human rights abuses.”
Alinejad’s criticisms do not stop with Iran, however. Alinejad turned her sights on the Biden Administration. According to Yahoo News, Alinejad says a “lack of a strong response is due to countries’ desire to negotiate with Iran over its fledgling nuclear weapons program.” In a statement to the press, the vocal human rights activist warned, “They’re all looking to have a deal with Iran. It’s all about [the] nuclear deal. They don’t want to lose the opportunity and they try to bury human rights under the nuclear deal.”
Alinejad is no fool here, given that an Iranian official recently said Iran would have “’less flexibility and demand more concessions’ from Washington such as keeping a chain of advanced uranium enrichment centrifuges in place and insisting on the removal of human rights and terrorism related US sanctions.”
This is part of a pattern of behavior, as Iran has a history of infiltrating intelligence apparatuses and foreign institutions in order to obtain information used in terror plots, which are then used to gain diplomatic leverage. A case in point was reported by iranintel.com, which recently stated “A new report by Proofpoint cybersecurity firm released on Tuesday has found that Charming Kitten, a cyber-espionage group with alleged links to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), posed as a ‘senior teaching and research fellow’ at SOAS university in London as far back as January to harvest credentials of targets mainly in the US and UK.”
And Americans will likely never forget how Iran emasculated the U.S. Navy on January 2016, when Iran’s navy seized two US Navy riverine boats and the 10 sailors on board after the ships wandered into Iranian waters due to mechanical issues. This was a ploy to build up leverage for the Iranian nuclear deal with then President Obama. As Alex Lockie, a military and foreign-policy blogger at Business Insider points out, “ . . . rushing US ships and putting them on the defensive, as well as capturing sailors, works mainly for propaganda purposes for Iran, whose authoritarian regime controls the media and pushes a heavily anti-US agenda.”
Yet, Alinejad remains steadfast in her conviction that Iran poses a clear and present danger to world peace, warning, “To be honest, I believe that when the Islamic republic is in power, it’s like ISIS. No one is safe around the world. No one who criticizes a religious dictatorship will be safe.” Meanwhile, the clock is ticking, and it’s almost high noon. Will the United States abandon Alinejad in her darkest hour?
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